TRENTON – Expect plenty of colorful language – with some choice adjectives and verbs – as state lawmakers comb through constituent emails this week. That’s because New Jerseyans are now greatly limited in how they can express their opinions about the proposed state budget. Rather than the traditional public hearings, in which regular folk can give state legislators eye rolls, audible sighs and frowns, all public comment will be done via email, as the state races to adopt a shortened budget that spends around $5 billion more just to balance it. The Legislature is accepting your vital comments through Friday at LBFO@njleg.org and wants everyone to know that lawmakers (or their staff) will give each email the full attention it deserves. Heck, they may even be read.
TRENTON – The state Treasury might need to recalibrate its official abacus. Or perhaps the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) needs new AA batteries in the state-issued calculator. Whatever the case, someone’s numbers are off. The Treasury, as Number-Crunching Central for the Murphy administration, estimates the state will endure far steeper losses in tax revenues through the middle of next year than the OLS. And while the latter say Team Murphy is overestimating losses by close to $1.4 billion, state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio stands by her figures. No biggie; what’s $1.4 billion among friends? NJ Spotlight explains why this itty-bitty divergence could have consequences for budget negotiations between Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers who are already demanding explanations about suggested budget cuts.
EAST FREEHOLD – New Jersey is dealing with sea rise, the second hottest summer on record, a lingering pandemic, and the end of “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” But at least there were no recent earthquakes – oh, wait. Yep, a 3.1 magnitude quake hit East Freehold around 2 a.m., prompting a bunch of 911 phone calls to authorities. Shaken, not stirred, residents assumed there was a low-flying plane, something hitting a house or other theories – as no one in East Freehold experienced a temblor like this since 1992. Luckily, no injuries were reported. But what a great opportunity for the local window salesman, desperate for his big break.
Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers.
MAHWAH – Former Mayor Bill Laforet – famously booted from office in a recall two years ago – is back. He is suing the town in federal court for $50 million, with claims he received a local summons for American flags flying at his gas station, deemed an illegal “temporary banner.” While Laforet is calling the July summons a “brazen act of political retribution,” the current mayor, John Roth, sees things differently. In fact, Roth says, the summons has nothing to do with the American flag. The issue is about all the other signs on the gas station installed without a permit. Whatever the case, this local spat is certainly worth $50 million and the time and expense of a federal court.
WOODBRIDGE – And, in more breaking news about the American flag, Gov. Phil Murphy has banned the New Jersey Turnpike Authority from messing with those American flags unofficially placed on overpasses on the Turnpike and Parkway. There was an immediate outcry when the Turnpike Authority deemed that the flags have gotta go and started pulling them down. Murphy jumped in yesterday, ending the issue. The flags can stay and any that were removed will be replaced, perhaps in time for the 19th anniversary of 9-11.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
SARDINIA – Hey, if you want a beach souvenir, buy a bottle opener. But don’t even think about taking any of the sand. That was the cold, hard lesson that one French tourist is paying – to the tune of $1,200 – when he attempted to take 4.4 pounds of Sardinia’s famous white sand out of Italy. All seemed to be going great, until the tourist was spotted at Cagliari Elmas Airport with a bottle containing the treasured sand, CNN reports. Sardinia’s Forest Rangers pounced, confiscating the sand and slapping him silly with a fine. Apparently, this is nothing new, as many try to steal the sand and sell it on the Internet. A law was enacted three years ago, fining anyone who attempts a sand heist.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2015 that Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria as the U.K.'s longest-reigning royal, with 63 years on the throne. And, yep, she’s still there.
WORD OF THE DAY
Bunkum – [BUNG-kum] – noun
Definition: Insincere or foolish talk; nonsense
Example: I think my fantasy football team is looking pretty solid; others deride my opinion as bunkum.
WIT OF THE DAY
“It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring.”
“Sleepy Joe Biden has pledged to ABOLISH suburban communities.”
-Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD